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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Equity and Climate Change

Climate change raises many ethical questions (including, for example, how to treat future generations, how to assess the impacts of climate change and who should bear the burden of combating climate change) but the ethical challenges posed by climate change need fuller evaluation than they have received so far.  This research project addresses this lacuna and develops a justice-based framework for thinking about climate change.

It has three components.  First, it analyzes what principles of justice should govern our response to climate change.  To do this it explores: the extent to which climate change jeopardizes fundamental rights; what obligations current generations have to future generations; the fair way to respond to the risks and uncertainties that surround climate change; and who is obligated to prevent dangerous climate change.  Second, it examines the ethical issues surrounding the policies needed to prevent climate change.  It, thus, explores the ethical dimensions of carbon trading, carbon taxes, the clean development mechanism, and alternative energy sources.  Third, it examines what institutional structures are best suited to bring about equitable and legitimate climate action.

To do this it combines normative political theory with insights from climate science, economics, law, political science, psychology and international relations.